Thursday, 30 April 2015

Little treats have arrived.....

I was all despondent and tired after a slog of a morning on the computer...I needed a pick me up and as I got to the sewing machine realised that I couldn't get on with the project I wanted to as I had no white cotton!

How did that happen?!

At that precise moment someone knocked on the door.

I went and opened it.....

Who stood there but our postman with 3, yes 3 parcels!


I  excitedly ripped the wrapping from the first.......

A real naughty treat!  I wasn't going to buy it, but it did look like my kind of book and I haven't really bought magazines for months as they are all same-y...can't wait to get stuck into that tonight.

Next parcel....ripped the wrapper off and......

24 pastel Moon Threads from Coats...deep I can get on with that project...happy-skippy-me!

Next, the plastic wrapper was shredded off of this...........

The hubs has bought me subscriptions to this and Sewing World, so they are the only mags that cross this threshold at the moment....very excited, no idea what's in there!  But both are the only mags that really get me making stuff so that's why I continue with them.

So there we are!

Pressies for little ol' me *grin*

The making I was able to get on with will be hitting your screens in the next few days, until then happy sewing, knitting, baking, gardening...or whatever your bag is.


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Doh! Now I get it!!!

Yesterday I told you about my brain-warp misunderstanding of the instructions to make this blouse....

No matter how many times I looked at the sketches and read the instructions, nothing made sense!

What do you think?...... 

I sent a message to the wonderfully kind Jane of Handmade Jane (kind, patient soul!) who has made this blouse numerous times and went to work hopeful that she could help.

I returned from work to find a young lady in our house who is shortening my daughters prom dress.  We got chatting about my new journey into making clothes and I showed her my blouse at the 'needs the collar on it stage' was all pinned but I was unconvinced....and rightly so as she popped a pin out, popped the buttonhole facing the other way round and said 'there, that should do it'!!

So simple when you know how and understand pattern construction!

Moving from the right hand picture of 'a.' above to the left hand picture of 'b.', I had folded the facing to the untidy 'inside' of the blouse (away from me) rather than the tidy 'outside' of the blouse (towards me)...couldn't believe how such a simple mis-read of instructions could cause so many hours of painstakingly reading and re-reading the instructions...knowing something was wrong but not seeing the most simple of solutions!

I did faff a while longer to build up the confidence at then thought.....'ah!  Jane!!'.

I hopped on here and sure enough, kind and thoughtful Handmade Jane had directed me to this link on her blog.

What a cracking explanation with photos.....

It confirmed that what I had done so far was correct and that the correction by our guest was quite right (not that I doubted her one iota!)

I wanted to share this story for 2 reasons...

Isn't it amazing how 1) a chance encounter and a common interest  and ...

2) a begging comment on the blog of someone I've never met....

could not only solve my issue and give me confidence BUT more than that, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling about the kindness of strangers to want to share their knowledge to help me learn with no benefit for themselves except for.....a warm and fuzzy feeling!

Thank you to both ladies...I'm off to sew!

Hope to see you soon.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Is there a seamstress to help with pattern translation?!

I'm on a journey with my first ever blouse.

It's the gorgeous Simplicity 4238......

The choice was inspired by Handmade Jane who has made some beauties using this pattern.

I'm going for View 2 without the false pockets.

Anyways.....I'm getting there...BUT......

I have now got to this.....

...and I'm telling may as well be written in Serbo-Croat for all I know!

If you can help me get my head around this Rubik's Cube of a blouse I'd be really grateful!

I'm not being thick (really!), I have just never put a collar on anything and I want to get it right so that I can do this again and not be put off.

Back soon with some easier makes!

Until then, have a great day!

Eleanor's Melman Quilt

My Little. Lady l-o-v-e-s Melman from the Madagascar films.

Such a long time ago (November 2012!) I told you about an end of bolt purchase from Eternal Maker, it is Michael Miller, Giraffe Love fabric.

I then had to buy some co-ordinating fabrics, some I bought with the Giraffe fabric and some a month or so later including Minky or Plush fabric for the reverse, also bought from the Eternal Maker.

I wanted to try something different and went for the Trellis quilt by The Jungs.

I then used white fabric for the trellis and borders.  I told you about the saga for that here, back in May 2014!

The top border I decided to make deeper than first intended as Little Lady had said that she wanted something 'rainbow' in her quilt and as there are seven colours of the rainbow and seven letters in her name....something sprang from that!

Using a variety of fabrics with a rainbow similarity, I decided to appliqué her name using lime green embroidery floss to blanket stitch.

It turned out like this......

(Please excuse it's screwed up appearance - it's getting LOTS of use)

With such a large quilt and a small amount of Giraffe Love, I used a calculator on Quilters Paradise. It is brilliant!  It is to calculate how much border to buy, but I put in the width of my purchased fabric, the length and width of my quilt top and then changed the border width until I knew I had sufficient fabric to cut a particular width of border and went with that!  It worked.  Slightly backwards I know, but it worked!

Having chosen the lovely, snuggly minky or plush fabric for the back, I needed to find a good tutorial on how to sew it successfully.

I turned to Pinterest and found a tutorial by Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew for quilting Minky, tips on sewing with Minky by Amy at The English Geek, a simple Minky Blanket Tutorial by Jenny at iCraft and a self-binding tutorial by Ashley at Make It & Love It.

When I laid my top out on my Minky, I discovered that I had JUST enough.  That would mean no self bind, and to be honest, I didn't want to do too much quilting as the prospect of ruining this quilt was too much to bear after all this time.  So I decided to use the simplest method by Jenny at iCraft of putting right sides together, sewing almost the whole way round and pulling the quilt through the gap and top stitching the seam all round to neaten and close the turning gap.

I asked The Hubs to amuse Little Lady for the day whilst I got down to some serious, concentrated sewing.

I used my label printing technique to print a label for my quilt and sewed that onto the Minky before I began, like this.......

I then cracked on with the main quilt joining the back and top and then top stitching around the edge, closing the turning gap on the way.

Want to see......?

OK, so here is my finished quilt.


I love the trellis effect and the Giraffe Love fabric................

And although I haven't quilted it, the simple Plush application to the back looks good......

What do you think...I'm SOOOOOO pleased and Little Lady is over the moon too!

I'm going to leave it for the moment and see if it needs quilting, I'm sort of hoping not so that there is no chance of messing it up after all the traumas and hard work...we'll see.

Little Lady has slept under it every night since, she is SO pleased with it.  Bless her.

I'll be back soon with another sewing ta-dah, a crochet update and quite possibly a crochet ta-dah's all go here I tell you.  And in-between all that making, there has been some buying too....ooooops!

Hope your day is a good one and that you are getting done the things you need to get done and maybe a few you'd just like to take time over and enjoy.

Until the next time, toodle-pip,

Monday, 27 April 2015

It's Been 3 Weeks.....

...since I last blogged....boy has it been busy here!

We had a. Lovely Easter weekend including an egg hunt in the garden.....

Both The Hubs and I had the week after Easter off, so we were able to relax for a few days before his Mam &Dad came to stay for 11 nights.

While they were here Mam and Little Lady both celebrated their birthdays.

For Little Lady the celebrations spanned the whole weekend with a bimble around town and lunch out at Ask Italian (her favourite restaurant) on Saturday and on Sunday, breakfast in Granny & Grumps bed with lots of present and card opening.

We were going to buy Little Lady a new bike, but Daddy & Grumps managed to mend her old one.

So for her main present she had her quilt! (Yes, more on that VERY soon!)

And from the cat a Tooth Faerie Cushion....... (Made that too!)

Auntie (Crafty Friend) arrived with a bag of presents, all crafting related...stickers, glue, glitter, pens, pipe cleaners, felt shapes.....wonderful!

A new bubble machine arrived too...great hit.

The Frozen themed cake went down very well too (thanks to Mr Tesco!)....

We're planning a shopping trip to spend her birthday money and I think the price of a new bike will be going into her savings account for a rainy day.

Over the 3 weeks I managed to escape away for odd moments to crochet.....I'll catch you up on that soon.

It is nice to be back and I'm looking forward to catching up with you all in the next few weeks.

Until the next time, take care,

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Lazy Crafternoon Tea

A while back I told you about my lovely purchases in order to run a fund-raising afternoon.

I also promised to tell you about it and I apologise for my tardiness...but here it last!

I invited some lovely crafty friends to pop along with any crafting dilemmas or new projects that had ground to a halt before they had really got under-way (you know that feeling, right?), I would ply them with tea, cake and cream scones and in exchange they had to dig deep and pay for their refreshments and anything else on my craft tree that took their fancy! (Sorry no picture of that.)

Want to see some calm photos before we kicked off?

OK, here we are, a charity shop find, a gorgeous yellow tea set..............

Set out on our garden room table covered by another charity shop find, a tablecloth...........

Hopefully there is something for everyone..........

Old school milk bottles with striped straws (bought from the Girls Own Store) for pink lemonade................

An eBay purchase of sugar tongs........

From the top...Cheesy Heart Puffs, Faerie Bites, Mini Scones and a no fat Victoria Sandwich......

I don't have a traditional looking Tea Dress (guess what's on the 'To Make' list for this year!?), so glamorous shoes and a dress were order of the day..............

We chatted, ate scones, chatted, did a little crochet, chatted, ate cake, chatted, drank tea, chatted and made some pillowcase dresses too!

In all we raised a fantastic £85 for Red Nose Day.  Thank you so much to the lovely ladies who made this possible xxx

I've decided to have another Lazy Crafternoon Tea in celebration of all the Children's Days there are in May and June.  It will be to get children into sewing, to sew more Dresses for Africa and all the money raised from the Tea & Scones will be used to make more dresses or contribute to postage getting the dresses to the distributor.  Can't wait!

I've got a lot of things to do by then, so I'd better stop yammering and crack on!

Until the next time, 
take care, 

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Can I Freeze It?

It's my new question to myself.

Sound odd?  Or maybe perfectly normal if you are good at using your freezer!

Having stupidly wasted half a cabbage or left citrus fruit until the skin has gone rock hard....I decided to do better!

As I said in my low fat fishcake post,before I buy new bread I clear all the odd bits like crusts and half rolls (!) and freeze it.

This slice of thrift has spread to other food.

The other day I only used a quarter of a white cabbage.  I promptly got out 3 freezer bags and sliced the other 3 quarters and popped them straight into the freezer.

This last weekend we used one of the bags, straight from the freezer into boiling water, and to be honest, I had forgotten it was the frozen cabbage as it tasted great!

I've also done it with red cabbage.  As I'm the only one who likes it at all, I get one the cheapest way (so usually whole no matter how small) and my recipe of choice is to braise it in balsamic vinegar and brown sugar (it's dreamy like that with mash!).  But inevitably there is only so much of this I can eat, well, that's not strictly true!  There are only so many things it goes with!

I'm also doing better with my citrus fruit.  It started with lemons and limes in the bottom of the fridge, one had been zested and the others were getting a hard dry skin.  Instead of wasting I cut them in into little triangles and into a freezer bag in the freezer and I use them to plop in my evening drink.

Last nights offering was a spritzer made with Lidl's Australian Chardonnay Colombard, it has a wonderful zesty zing on the end, just perfect for keeping chilled with a wedge or 2 of frozen lemon.....mmmmmmmm!

I have a fruit bowl of oranges that everyone turns their nose up at and there's only so many oranges a woman can eat!  Those were next on my list, they'd be great in the kids cordial or in a Pimms come the summer.

Take a look at this SAD specimen.......

The skin was ROCK hard, I could hardly get the knife through it!

But look at the inside........

Look at all that juice!

Little Lady saw me and asked to suck a wedge....and it got me to thinking.....I could juice these too!

So out came the old fashioned glass juicer (no fancy kit here!) and away I went!

Little Lady got to the glass before I could photograph a full glass from about 6 oranges!

So here's the messy aftermath and a little juice in the bottom of the glass for me!

You can see how juicy they were.  I'm amazed!

Jen at My Make Do and Mend Year would be proud of me, I'm sure.

Do you know, we love stir fry, I think I might shred odd bits like ends of peppers, odd spring onions and get a 'Stir Fry' freezer bag going! Spring greens, ribbons of's all worth a try.

And now I can see the bottom of the fruit bowl I have found a stray banana!  I need 3 to make muffins so I'm going to freeze that one until I have 2 more!

I'm on a roll!!

See what happens when you start?!

How do you avoid waste? Got any more tips or ideas on avoiding food waste?

Back soon with more bits and bobs, until then,
take care,